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Music department presents Karen Becker and Friends concert with guest tenor Vale Rideout

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (April 10, 2009) - The SUNY Plattsburgh department of music presents Karen Becker and Friends in "An Evening of Song" Saturday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, Hawkins Hall. The concert is free and open to the public. Pianist Dr. Karen Becker will perform with internationally acclaimed tenor Vale Rideout.The concert will feature a selection of arts songs, opera arias and songs composed for American musical theater.

Now in its fourth year, Becker's popular recital series "Karen Becker and Friends" serves as a showcase for local and regional artists as well as for visiting guest performers from around the country.

Vale Rideout

Colorado native Vale Rideout has garnered critical acclaim for his musical artistry and superb stagecraft throughout the United States and Europe. Possessed of both a beautiful instrument and an ability to consistently deliver passionate, energetic performances, he is equally in demand for leading tenor roles from the standard repertory to contemporary premiere works. Rideout's 2008-2009 engagements currently include his debut with the New York Philharmonic in Britten's "War Requiem," which continues his ongoing collaboration with maestro Loren Maazel; the role of Nadir in "Les Pecheurs des perles" with Opera Columbus; and as soloist in "Carmina Burana" with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. He will also appear as Sam in "Susannah" with Mobile Opera; as Gernando in Haydn's "L'isola disabitata" with Gotham Chamber Opera; and as soloist in "Messiah" with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and the Highland Park United Methodist Church's TowerArts Series.

Rideout has been a featured soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus, Naples (Florida) Philharmonic, BBC Singers, and symphonies in California, Colorado and New York. His extensive experience in musical theater includes Raoul in "The Phantom of the Opera" (Hamburg, Germany); Tony in "West Side Story" with Opera Grand Rapids; Tony in Terrence McNally's "Master Class"; Maltby and Shire's musical revue, "Closer Than Ever"; and the national tour of "Cabaret" directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall.

Rideout was awarded first prize in the Savannah Music Festival's 2006 American Traditions Competition. He was a 2003 regional finalist in the Metropolitan National Council Auditions and a finalist in the Denver Lyric Opera competition. Rideout can be heard on the Newport Classics recording of "The Ballad of Baby Doe," the world premiere recording of Kurt Weill's "The Eternal Road," the Naxos recording of "Gimpel the Fool" by David Schiff and upcoming recordings with the Milken Archive of Jewish Music.

Becker is an assistant professor at SUNY Plattsburgh and is one of the area's most popular performing artists. She has performed in venues across the country and has served as conductor and music director for a wide range of performing groups. In addition to her recital series, regional performance highlights include appearing as a guest artist on the Hill and Hollow concert series and collaborating with artists and students from the Meadowmount School of Music. In 2007, Becker traveled to Cairo, Egypt, where she was a featured artist on the Ewart Hall Concert series at American University. She has recently played recitals in St. Paul, Minn., New York City and Long Island, N.Y., and Denver, Colo.

Karen Becker

She currently serves as artistic director of Champlain Valley Voices and SUNY Plattsburgh Choral Union. In Fall 2008 she conducted the 90-member chorus, soloists and orchestra in Handel's "Messiah" followed by the chorus' April concert, "The Great American Songbook Vol. II: Broadway Duos." This past year she has also served as musical director for performances of "A Hand of Bridge," "A Game of Chance" and "Guys and Dolls" at SUNY Plattsburgh and for "Fiddler on the Roof" at AuSable Valley High School.

Becker has worked as music director and conducted many shows on tour at the Lake Dillon Theater, the Garner Galleria Theater, and at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. She has acted as conductor and assistant conductor for such groups as the Colorado Children's Chorale and the Colorado Symphony Chorus, including appearing as a solo recitalist. She has worked as a pianist for the American Opera Project at New York City Opera, a piano soloist for the Summergarden series at the Museum of Modern Art, a keyboard player in the Philip Glass Ensemble and as a featured pianist on the Music from Japan series at Columbia University. While in New York City, Becker was a champion of contemporary music, playing premieres by John Cage and rarely heard music by Charles Koechlin and Eric Satie.

Becker holds degrees in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, as well as a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Wisconsin where she was a student of Van Cliburn medal winner, Christopher Taylor. While at the University of Wisconsin, she was featured as soloist in the "Concerto for Piano and Winds" by Igor Stravinsky, with the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, an organization she helped found, as well as served as pianist with the UW Symphony and Chamber Orchestra.

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